There are very few franchises out there that have kept churning out fantastically solid games to the delight of fans everywhere. One such franchise is Castlevania, the latest of which is Castlevania: Curse of Darkness for the Microsoft Xbox. So does this game keep Castlevania alive and strong? Read our full review to find out!
For those who have not been familiar with the Castlevania series, here is a little briefing for you. First off, like mentioned earlier, this is a series that has literally been around forever and it just never seems to slow down anytime soon. The game has had many handheld and console experiences, but the successes of the handheld games have highly out weighed that of the console. So can the developers actually create a workable 3D version of the famous Castlevania series?
The story behind Curse of Darkness is exactly what you would expect from the game, as it is a fairly "typical" Castlevania style storyline. The game places you in the role of Hector, who was once a follower of Dracula. Well, suffice to say that the story is an essential piece in the Curse of Darkness puzzle. The story moves at a very good pace and will definitely give you the feeling of a Castlevania game that we all have grown to love.
Where Curse of Darkness really tries to go with this game is in the combat system, which has been upgraded quite a bit this time around. The game is still what I would consider an action RPG that at first won’t feel much different from the previous game. The big difference here is the ability to forge items, which is something new to the series. Basically you pick up items and this allows you to create several other types of items that can become extremely useful throughout the game.
Also new to the game is these "innocent devils", which in itself seems like a total contradiction, but play a big role in the game. These are what you would basically find as pets in an MMORPG and help your quest to defeat all of the bad guys in the game. These two new ideas are actually both welcome additions to what I found to be a very solid combat system. The developers once again managed to keep the feel of Castlevania alive in this game, but also unfortunately ran into some problems in the process.
The biggest issue that Curse of Darkness faces is really the constant repetition. Not only will you find the game to just start repeating itself over and over again, but you will also notice the game very rarely tries to correct this problem. But instead you will see the game just mindlessly take you through area after area, taking out bad guys and picking up items so you can craft some sort of great weapon or armor.
The game’s combat is good, the story is good, but the end product is really nothing more than average. I have always been a big fan of Castlevania games, and I did find some great things to enjoy in this game, however there were of course the problems as well. I think the best way to describe the experience of Curse of Darkness is that it is the experience you will expect, minus any extra thrills.
Visually the game kind of goes along with the gameplay, in that it does what it set out to do, but nothing more than that. The biggest thing going for the presentation is the environments, which are dark and detailed and truly give the classic Castlevania feel. The character models are not as impressive, not getting nearly enough detail nor really expanding anywhere the series hasn’t been in 3D. Curse of Darkness is not a bad looking game, but it doesn’t manage to impress all that much either.
I have to say that I was really looking forward to Curse of Darkness this year, just because it seemed like it had so much to offer that other games of this series did not. Sure the ability to craft your own weapons and such was a neat idea, but not as enjoyable as I hoped it would be. Also the combat in the game is inspiring at first, but as the game progresses, the satisfaction of the game begins to fade away as well.
Castlevania: Curse of Darkness was just another missed opportunity for the people over at Konami. They literally are working with a great series, but thus far have been completely unable to revive this series in 3D. Therefore, you can add Castlevania: Curse of Darkness to the list of games in the series that were good but just weren’t good enough. I would recommend checking this game out with a rental, but anything more than that would probably be asking too much.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.